Getting Fired Wasn't Your Choice -- What You Do Now Is

Getting Fired You might have seen it coming or it might have been a big surprise, but the truth remains -- getting fired wasn't your choice. What happens next, is. You can either wallow in misery and collect unemployment for the next 99 weeks, or make being fired the best thing that ever happened to you.

Why it's not so bad

A recent study found that only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their current job. That was the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board research group, in more than 22 years of studying the issue. Unfortunately, this also explains why so many people are collecting unemployment. It's not that the jobs aren't out there; it's that some people would rather get paid for doing nothing, than do something they hate for 40 hours each week.

What now

If you find yourself among the 9 percent of Americans who are unemployed, don't despair. You can still get back in the game and actually make being fired the best thing that ever happened to you. Here's what to do now:

  • Do something you love. Most people don't realize that instead of spending time and money to be immersed in the things they love, they can get paid to be immersed in those activities. And that is the case whether you want to work in sales, customer service, accounting, marketing or any other position.
  • Just as they give samples at the grocery store hoping you'll like it and come back for more, job seekers must do the same thing. Find ways to give samples of the value you can bring to the place or industry in which you want to work. Volunteer for a half day, or one day per week in the industry you want to work. Write articles on the topic, or blog about it. Give, give, give. And if you give enough value, someone will give back to you in the form of a job offer.
  • It's amazing how many people think filling out an application or sending in a resume and cover letter constitutes applying for a job. That's not enough anymore! Make the focus on how you can improve the company's bottom line. If you are applying for a $60,000 per year job, you have to be bringing at least $60,001 in great ideas and results to the table, or there's no reason for anyone to hire you. Obviously, it should be a whole bunch more than just that one dollar of value you are providing. Your projected value needs to be reflected in what you submit to a company when you apply for a job.
  • If you weren't satisfied with the type of work you were doing previously, taking a job in the same field isn't going to fulfill you now -- or in the future! Use this down time to expose yourself to different situations that will help you figure out your purpose for existing. Volunteer, backpack around the world, read books on topics that interest you. Do whatever you can do to experience new things, so that when you choose your next job, you are fired up to be there every day.

Only you can make it happen

Our educational system is broken, the economy is stagnant, and unemployment is still high. It's possible that you may have taken classes you didn't care for and entered a field that didn't fulfill you. It's a shame that's the way things are, but that's the reality. And right now you have a choice.

If you are in the 9 percent of people who are not working, it's time to figure out what you want to do, find a way to do it, and bring tons of value to the table. Nobody is coming to the rescue, so you must build your own ship and take control of your life.

Laying you off was their choice. What you do after that is yours. If you do it right, becoming unemployed can be the best thing that ever happened to you. They chose; now you choose.

Next: Ask an Expert: How to Explain Being Fired From a Job

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Jimmy D. Huser

I totally agree with the others... What a mess. I was fired in 2008, after 8 years with the company. They could care less. Went through 50,000 in savings, was behind 6 month on house payment,6 months on the second mortgage. I have a college degree, I got my CDL, drove trucks, was a nighmare, sold furniture, work for my brother. Spent 8 hours a day on the internet,career, monster other job boards. Finally got a descent job with a major company, after a year. They had a 1000 applicants, went through 5 inteviews, took a month. Also through Gods blessing able keep my house ,,they lowered the payment. Funny, I didnt end up in the nut house. Also got divorced. All that to say this dont give up. Thanks

February 24 2011 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Star Lawrence

If you find yourself among the 9 percent of Americans who are unemployed, don't despair. You can still get back in the game and actually make being fired the best thing that ever happened to you

This is some happy HS! I agree with posters who say this author is probably not out in the cold now. There are 5-20 apps for every job--this is not ending or going away. The whole world econ is restructuring and the American worker is going to be standing there with everything hanging out. This story is pretty much claptrap.

February 24 2011 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My three sons all have college degrees but are waiting tables for a living. I suppose they are the lucky ones. They say that many of their fellow employees also have degrees. My wife's cousins kid got a degree and she was delighted to get a job in a box factory. She says that some of her fellow employees have Ivy League degrees. Even employers with menial jobs can take their pick of workers right now. It's horrible.

February 24 2011 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frustrated in Central Florida

My husband has been unemployed for 16 months and he was "early retired" after 16 years of hard work keeping a company in the black, getting passed over 3x by younger people for the "head" job, who all failed in the end. He had the knowledge and talent but his pay grade was already too high, so since he was 61 nearing 62, they decided they were "doing away" with his "position" which was BS and now we've been living on my PALTRY salary and 11 months after he was gone (no unemployment, uncle sam taking 1/2 of his "retirement $" away in taxes in 2010 which is what we were living on - no savings anymore, etc. - we have 2 teenagers - I have 2 stepkids living in another country in their 30s) he is in now in receipt of his whopping 4th SS check and we can't pay the mtg on our home of 20 years - we've always been hard-working, tax-paying Americans but he was NEVER a deadbeat dad, he took care of his kids, we have always both worked, I waited to have kids, and now I'm looking at working til I'm dead w/no retirement, my husband HAD to take his SS now instead of waiting because there just isn't enough income for 4 people living under one roof - one leaving for college in months and the other to follow in 2 short years - we've had to live week to week most of our lives because of the ex and my stepkids, I never begrudged them the $ in the 15 years of paying it, but it is supposed to be our time now, and it isn't because WE ARE IN A DEPRESSION RECESSION whatever you want to call it and GOOD PEOPLE ARE STARVING AND HOMELESS IN OUR COUNTRY and people care more about animals and people in other countries than they do here - I'm rambling but I'm pissed and I have every right to be. Thanks a lot for giving money to Wall Street TWICE

February 24 2011 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah Whitehead

Lads n ladies, My heart bleeds for you me I am 43 years old and when I moved from Ireland to work in NJ 23 years ago I was making $10.00 an hour I thought I'd won the I am with 23 years of experience and they still want to pay me $10.00 an a grown women with kids and a mortgage. Last company I worked for was in the Insurance business, they fired all us mid aged folks and hired fresh college blood. Rat Bastards!!

I've been out of work a year now, sent out over 30 resumes daily and have had 7 interviews, bottom benefits, long travel and crap pay. America is doomed. Never thought I'd see the day where I'd come to America to live the dream only to crash and burn at the end. I wish America would stop interfering with other countries problems and take a long look at their own.

Let's start at Home...set the's ironic that we are implementing a diplomatic approach to poor countries but can't save out own ass!!

Good luck and God Bless America!!!

February 24 2011 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
herb sedler

First of all its more then 9% but no one in washington wants to say its true,age discrimination out there big time, companies taking advantage of this crisis, companies sending jobs overseas so they can make more money off us and they also get big tax breaks ontop of it all in our borders.The schools seem to be some of the only ones making money. This article seems to be writen by a person who has a job and does'nt seem to be intouch with whats really going on.loosing your job is maybe the best thing is total BS,being on the verge of loosing your home is not a good thing, loosing your car, wondering how you can get your kids medication so he can live, until the people running things in our country chill on there greed and stop helping everyone out, out of are borders.having special programs for black or spanish only is very wrong, I thought we were only to see red,white and blue.How can I really get help and by who, being white and have paid into the system for 39 years,I get treated worse than someone floating up onto our shores, I dont understand that, it must have something to do with winning votes,I am not looking for a free hand out, and the worst day of my life after loosing my mom was loosing my job.

February 24 2011 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The author is correct that it is up to you to find a job("Only you can make it happen"). I have been looking for 11 months and it hasn't happened yet. It has not been totally dry. I have been on a few interviews, but, the jobs have gone to younger candidates. That is kind of discouraging. I spend about 3 hours a day looking for jobs and another 2 hours a day networking in person, on linkedin, and facebook. The "pros" say that this is what you have to do to find a good job these days. I wonder if the real reason you do it is to keep yourself busy and have the illusion that it really makes a difference. For me it has not yet. I am an IT professional that has been in several lead positions with both small and large IT shops and recieved numerous performance awards from those organizations. I am hopeful that soon I will be offered a job so I can again practice my expertise in a commercial environment.

February 24 2011 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I remember being laid off once, and it actually led to the best job I ever had. But in this environment, it's much harder to find a job. Not only do we have to face age discrimination, but many companies will NOT speak to you if you are currently unemployed. In many ways, the business community is directly responsible for extending the downturn. They need to take risks, hire, and get more people who can actually afford to buy their goods and services.

February 24 2011 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is the hard part about being displaced and unemployed long term. You have to endure this arrogance and stupidity. We just choose to remain unemployed? Plenty of jobs out there? Sales, customer service, accounting, marketing? The economy is stagnant? I am 54 years old... was in manufacturing... you know, the huge segment of the economy that went away in the hands of unions and democrats... I have not or do not choose to stay unemployed. As a previous 6 figure wage earner I would like to believe that I am smart enough to just get a job, however, since we are in the worst of times since 1929, and we continue to be so regardless of what tripe the media reports, I am living proof that there are no choices that we supposedly have. I have been unemployed sine October 2007. I apply for everything that moves... Obviously there are things that play against me... The most painful one is having articles like this saturate the airwaves... portraying long term unemployed as dead beats with a choice... whatever happened to that red blooded good old American punch in the face... I believe you are a candidate for one...

February 24 2011 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is only one point I could agree with this article is that "getting fired wasn't your choice". For the rest, possibly the writer mixed up betwen a full time job committment and hobbies.

February 24 2011 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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